Texas

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Last week, Amarillo unveiled the first historic Route 66 sign along the famed route that traverses the city.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, State Sen. Kel Seliger and State Rep. Four Price were on hand to celebrate the sign’s reveal.

Dora Meroney is the president of the Old Route 66 Association of Texas, and she said she hopes to erect signs along the entire 178-mile stretch of the former highway in the panhandle.

Public Domain

Texas has removed more Confederate monuments than any other state, according to a new study.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, a new breakdown from the Southern Poverty Law Center notes that, since a 2015 shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, 110 Confederate monuments have been taken down or changed nationwide. Over a fourth of those monuments were in Texas.

US Army Corps of Engineers

In recent years, the Texas Department of Public Safety has spent more than $15 million on two high-altitude surveillance planes.

And as the Texas Observer reports, the planes typically fly at more than 2 miles above the earth, so they are impossible to spot from the ground, leaving Texans in the dark about whether they’re being watched.

From Texas Standard.

In an effort to control its borders, the U.S. has been unequivocal in declaring what will happen to those who illegally immigrate to the U.S. with underage kids in tow – you may be be separated from your kids. It’s supposed to be a deterrent. In the past, parents with children were not routinely prosecuted for illegally crossing the border. But that’s changed, and now kids are being separated from their parents.

Eric T Gunther / Wikimedia Commons

Last year, Texas rejected almost 2,500 vanity license plates that violated approval guidelines. As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles turned down the requests for a variety of reasons, including messages that were too political or too sexy.

Some of the requested messages that ran afoul of political guidelines included plates reading NOTRUMP, NOBAMA, and N2TRUMP.

Farm-to-market and ranch-to-market roads have helped rural Texans get around since the 1940s. But what happens when these roads become completely surrounded by the city, with fewer ranches and farms on route? The seemingly odd road names caught one listener's curiosity.

From Texas Standard.

It’s time once again for what they call the most exciting two minutes in sports. The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby will happen this Saturday.

From Texas Standard:

Sunday, the third and fourth largest mobile carriers in the U.S. announced a $26.5 billion plan to merge. A marriage of Sprint and T-Mobile, if approved, would yield a company with more than 90 million customers. But the merger isn’t a done deal yet, and another pending communications merger could shape the outcome – the proposed acquisition of Time-Warner by AT&T. That merger is in court, facing opposition from the U.S. Justice Department.

From Texas Standard.

At Amarillo City Council meetings, clapping is a sign of rebellion. And citizens are called out for doing it.

Mayor Ginger Nelson recently enforced the city’s no clapping policy.

As the White House continues to expand deportations and push measures to curb illegal immigration, many Texas immigrants are forced to navigate the immigration system without the help of an attorney.

From Texas Standard.

Every spring, wildflowers bring Texans and visitors alike out of their homes for all kinds of photo ops. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of cars parked along Texas highways as families pose in patches of bluebonnets.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors on the southwest border to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy against anyone who enters or attempts to enter the country illegally, a mandate he said “supersedes” any prior directives.

From Texas Standard.

Texas is re-upping a request to “opt in” to a federal law that would speed up the execution appeals process in the state, potentially leading to quicker executions.

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Did you know you can travel the world without ever leaving the Lone Sar State?

The Houston Chronicle has published a list of worldwide landmarks that Texas has created its own versions of. For example, in Ingram, Texas, you can visit Stonehenge II and replicas of the famed Easter Island heads.

In Paris, Texas, you can visit the Eiffel Tower, and in Stafford visitors can visit an Indian temple that calls to mind the Taj Mahal.

Richie, Robert Yarnall / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas isn’t quite as special these days as it has been for most of this new century, claims a new editorial in the Dallas Morning News.

The state, notes the contributor Richard Parker, “has burned brightly since the beginning of the century.”

But now that bright Lone Star is cooling off. Parker is careful to note that the state’s changing fortunes don’s so much signal a downturn as “a leveling off.”

SMU Central University Libraries / Flickr Creative Commons

Back in July, The New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright published an investigation into the politics of the Lone Star State entitled “America’s Future is Texas.” The essay became one of The NewYorker’s most popular pieces of 2017.

This week Wright followed up his politics piece with a look at the Texas economy’s longstanding attachment to the fossil-fuel industry, which has resulted in a seemingly endless boom-and-bust cycle.

Texas Voters Approve Seven Constitutional Amendments

Nov 9, 2017
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Texans on Tuesday night voted in favor of seven constitutional amendments.

As The Texas Tribune reports, as of late Tuesday evening, about 85 percent voted in favor of a proposition authorizing tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It was a similar outcome for a proposition authorizing property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

My Plates press release

Seventeen years ago, at the dawn of the new millennium, the State of Texas scrapped its traditional white license plates for a more graphics-heavy design.

The 2000 plate, with its cowboy and space shuttle and oil derricks and moon and stars, gained popularity among some but was lambasted by others who saw the design as an unfortunate departure from the clean design of the past.

If you fall into the first group, then you have cause to rejoice this month as the state has announced that independent contractor My Plates is bringing back the millennial design.

Could Pot Be Closer To Legalization In Texas?

Oct 26, 2017
CHUCK GRIMMETT / CREATIVE COMMONS

Legalized pot has taken great strides in Texas over the past couple of years, thanks in part to a surprising ally – a conservative lawmaker and fundamentalist Christian who actually used the Bible to make the case for legalizing weed.

Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Continuing a dramatic reversal on voting rights under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to allow Texas to enforce a photo voter identification law that a lower court found discriminatory.

Department of Defense

Hurricane Harvey may permanently alter the way the State of Texas operates. As POLITICO reports, the storm may put a serious dent in the Lone Star State’s penchant for rugged individualism.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

What do High Plains folks hate the most?

There’s a new app called Hater that works like Tinder, except it matches users based on common things they loathe.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, according to the app’s users, the most common thing Texans hate is . . . “sleeping with the window open.”

This may come as a surprise, as there are so many things to hate in Texas, like rattlesnakes and poorly constructed tacos.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Emmanuel Garza moved from Texas to Colorado so his baby daughter could get the medical marijuana treatment she needed. Legislation to legalize the same treatment in Texas failed to pass during the regular legislative session.

By Alex Samuels, The Texas Tribune

Madelynn Garza had her first seizure at three months old.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

This week The New Yorker published an extended essay about Texas, calling the Lone Star State “the nation’s bellwether” and pondering if the future of the United States might look something like the current situation in Texas. The author of the essay is Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and long-time Texan.

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Under a proposal added to the Texas House budget last week, funding could go to a program to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking.

Houston Chronicle

Perhaps more than any other state, President Donald Trump has shown an affinity for the policies and politicians of the Lone Star State. He’s installed Texans like Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson in his cabinet, and his low-tax, anti-regulation attitude is closely aligned with the philosophy of Texans like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

It begs the question: Does Trump want to make America like Texas?

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There are 313,000 victims of human trafficking in the state of Texas, according to a new groundbreaking study by the University of Texas. That puts the number of human trafficking victims in the state at fifty percent larger than the entire population of Amarillo. As The Austin American-Statesman reports, 80,000 of those victims are minors involved in sex trafficking.

Texas ranks in the top 10 for worst drivers

Nov 24, 2016
Car Insurance Comparison

According to a national study, Texans are among the worst drivers in America.

Using information gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Car Insurance Comparison published a list of America’s worst drivers by state and Texas tied with Louisiana for the largest number of fatal car crashes and their causes.

National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty

For some reason, Texas always seems to spring to mind when people are thinking of destruction on a huge scale.

Take the 1998 movie Armageddon, for example, in which Planet Earth is threatened by an asteroid “the size of Texas.”

The fact is, sometimes it’s not great to be intimately linked with bigness. Last week, Russia unveiled a brand new ballistic missile. The country proudly announced that the warhead is big enough “to wipe out Texas.”

David Woo / Dallas Morning News

We hear a lot of stories about how Texas shapes the wider world. From oil policy to cowboy lore, the Lone Star State has an outsized impact on planet earth. But last week The New York Times published an editorial on how the shape of Texas shapes the conversation about Texas.

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